Thursday, February 21, 2008

Amazing simulations

It gets better for Barack Obama, in unexpected ways. The current primary-season successes of the presidential candidate — 11 wins in a row, counting the results from Americans Abroad — have led to what amounts to the Obama Impersonators' Full Employment Act.

MSNBC's "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, doing his bit to punch up viewers for corporate cousin NBC, said Wednesday that "Saturday Night Live" is in the hunt for the actor to portray Barack Obama on the program, a show with a rich cultural history of presidential impersonation. Dana Carvey was George Bush #41. Darryl Hammond personified Bill Clinton. Will Forte has been channeling George Bush #43 for years. Now, Hardball reports, "SNL" producer Lorne Michaels is said to be holding auditions to find the perfect Obama.

If he hasn't done it already, he might do well to check out the GotADemo Web site, where a vaiety of talents in acting, modeling, singing and other endeavors post videos of their work in a bid for wider exposure. On Wednesday's home page of the site, it's announced that comedian Reggie Reg won a contest for best political impersonator. One of Reg's comedic alter egos is none other than the junior senator from Illinois.

Or there's Ronnie Butler, the Obama dead-ringer working for Tapley Entertainment, a Texas-based company specializing in celebrity look-alikes. Butler, who has starred on "Medium", "Ugly Betty" and "Invasion," must be milking it for all it's worth. "You can even arrange to provide your guests with photos taken with 'President Barack Obama' as souvenirs," the Tapley site says. "He looks, talks and acts like the real person and is a perfect complement to any special event." Here's betting he's even articulate.

And in, a bible for actors and performers, one company, Vertical City Entertainment, posted a casting notice for "a Barack Obama Lookalike: 25-45, physical resemblance, singing, and dance ability a must." The notice is for a "musical short." The company's also seeking surrogates for Hillary Clinton and President Bush. (No word on which is doing the most business.)

So, good luck Lorne Michaels. And congratulations to Barack Obama, again. Win or lose this thing, you've entered the purest realm of celebrity, that meta-realm in which, simply put, you don't have to be dead to see yourself impersonated everywhere.

That phone call? It's Madame Tussaud's holding for the senator. They're ready for the unveiling.
Image credit: New York Post.

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